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Philippines

In the Philippines, FSD educates the local populations of the risks of explosive ordnance on the island of Mindanao and supports the ongoing peace process through mine action.

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A farmer points out the location of an improvised mine to a member of FSD survey team (Philippines, 2019)

Context

Mindanao Island, in the south of the Philippines, has known decades of conflicts between different rebel groups and the Philippine government. Each period of conflict has left behind unexploded or abandoned ammunition, putting in danger the lives of the inhabitants of the region.

Following several peace agreements between rebel groups and the government, the movement of the region towards autonomy accelerated.

In this context, FSD was encouraged to develop a mine action programme implying the collaboration of all parties to the peace agreement, in order to restore trust between them. 

 

We were told that a 9 years old child found a mortar shell close to the lake and brought it back home to play with it

Merlene Usman-Degay

Community Liaison Officer for FSD in the Philippines

Merlene Usman-Degay - Community Liaison Officer for SDF in the Philippines
Philippines

Mine clearance

FSD implements surveys in localities suspected to be contaminated by unexploded ordnance or improvised mines. These improvised devices became more and more frequent and reproduce the technologies encountered in Iraq or in Syria. When the presence of explosive ordnance is confirmed, FSD facilitates the intervention of Philippine armed forces for the neutralisation of the explosive hazard.

FSD additionally surveys mine accidents and keep the collected information in a data base to contribute to the development of an efficient demining strategy.

Non technical surveys, Philippines
Philippines

Risk education

FSD and its network of volunteers conduct risk awareness sessions in villages affected by the conflict. More than 280,000 people now know how to react if they face an unexploded grenade or an improvised mine.

An online prevention campaign is also implemented on social media via the local FSD Facebook page.

Mine risk education in Mindanao, Philippines
Philippines

Capacity building

FSD assumes the role of national mine action centre in the Bangsamoro autonomous region, providing advise and technical assistance to local authorities to help them plan and prioritize demining operations. FSD additionally coordinates mine victim assistance activities through the CICR, when it is possible. 

The final objective of this project is for the Bangsamoro autonomous region in Muslim Mindanao to have its own mine action centre to coordinate the work of the different demining organisations in the region. FSD will have the mission to pass the torch to this new entity, in partnership with the local NGO Philippine campaign to Ban Landmines. 

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FSD in Philippines

FSD began working in Mindanao in support of the peace process in 2005, providing technical expertise to the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).

In 2007, in partnership with the Philippines Campaign to Ban Landmines, FSD proposed the establishment of a mine action programme to improve the security of the population, support reconstruction and build confidence in the peace process. On 5 May 2010, the Philippine government and the MILF signed a peace agreement for the implementation of this project.

In 2012, with funding from the European Union’s Instrument for Stability and Peace (IcSP), FSD started demining activities in Mindanao. FSD is implementing this programme in close cooperation with the Association FSD France.
CENTIMETRE After CENTIMETRE

In 2021, our deminers have cleared 8.5 km², an area equivalent to half of Geneva. This work requires constant concentration despite the sometimes extreme working conditions.

News from the Philippines

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Risk education in the Philippines

Nothing stops our risk education team in the Philippines! At this time of the year, waiting for low tide and rolling up your trousers is the only way to reach the village of Sangkahan, where people are exposed to the threat of explosive remnants.

How UXOs become IEDs-FSD

UXO ➡️ IED

In the Philippines, unexploded ordnance (UXO) such as this mortar remnant are collected by armed groups to make improvised explosive devices (IED). In order to prevent this practice, FSD acts as a facilitator between the different parties […]

Joselito Remedios, 54, is a pastor and an explosive ordnance risk education provider

FSD volunteers

Joselito Remedios, 54, is a pastor and an explosive ordnance risk education provider. For the past year, he has been a member of the Fondation suisse de déminage (FSD)’s volunteer team in the Philippines.

Our activities

Our humanitarian programmes focus on four main areas.

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Mine action

FSD locates and clears mines and unexploded ordnance, provides explosive ordnance risk education and assists survivors of accidental explosions.

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Recovery & stability

FSD supports ongoing peace processes in various countries and provides socio-economic support to communities.

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Environment

FSD remediates sites contaminated by toxic pollutants inherited from the past and act to promote biodiversity and resilience to face climate change. 

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Innovation & technology

FSD collaborates on research projects aiming to put new technologies, such as drones, at the service of mine action.

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